Tuesday, March 29, 2022

March 29, 2022 - BCPL Children's Author of the Month

Hello, readers! Today we at Brooke County Libraries are excited to share our Children's Author of the Month for March 2022. This year, we are featuring several of our favorite juvenile authors and series. This month's pick is Beverly Cleary.

Beverly Atlee Cleary (née Bunn; April 12, 1916 – March 25, 2021) was an American writer of children's and young adult fiction. One of America's most successful authors, 91 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide since her first book was published in 1950. Some of her best known characters are Ramona Quimby and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse. 

Beverly Cleary’s books have earned her many prestigious awards. In honor of her achievements, she was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. Of most importance to Beverly Cleary, the more than thirty-five statewide awards her books won based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Ellen Tebbits, and Otis Spofford, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations.

By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood surrounded by books—either at home or in her public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves: funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and her other beloved characters were born.

When children asked Mrs. Cleary where she finds her ideas, she would always reply, 'From my own experience and from the world around me.' She included a passage about the D.E.A.R. program in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (second chapter) because she was inspired by letters she received from children who participated in 'Drop Everything and Read' activities. Their interest and enthusiasm encouraged her to provide the same experience to Ramona, who enjoys D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class.

Beverly Atlee Bunn was born on April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, Oregon, to Chester Lloyd Bunn, a farmer, and Mable Atlee Bunn, a schoolteacher. Cleary was an only child and lived on a farm in rural Yamhill, Oregon, in her early childhood. She was raised Presbyterian. When she was six years old, her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where her father had secured a job as a bank security officer.

The adjustment from living in the country to the city was difficult for Cleary, and she struggled in school; in first grade, her teacher placed her in a group for struggling readers. Cleary said, "The first grade was sorted into three reading groups—Bluebirds, Redbirds and Blackbirds. I was a Blackbird. To be a Blackbird was to be disgraced. I wanted to read, but somehow could not."

With some work, Cleary's reading skills improved, but she eventually found reading boring, complaining that many stories were simple and unsurprising, and wondering why authors often did not write with humor or about ordinary people. However, on a rainy afternoon at home during Cleary's third-grade year, she found herself enjoying reading The Dutch Twins, a book by Lucy Fitch Perkins about the adventures of ordinary children. The book was an epiphany for her, and afterward, she started to spend a lot of time reading and at the library. By sixth grade, a teacher suggested that Cleary should become a children's writer based on essays she had written for class assignments. After graduating from Portland's Grant High School in 1934, Cleary entered Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California.

As a children's librarian, Cleary empathized with her young patrons, who had difficulty finding books with characters they could identify with, and she struggled to find enough books to suggest that would appeal to them. After a few years of making recommendations and performing live storytelling in her role as librarian, Cleary decided to start writing children's books about characters that young readers could relate to. Cleary has said, "I believe in that 'missionary spirit' among children's librarians. Kids deserve books of literary quality, and librarians are so important in encouraging them to read and selecting books that are appropriate.

Cleary's first book, Henry Huggins (1950), was the first in a series of fictional chapter books about Henry, his dog Ribsy, his neighborhood friend Beezus and her little sister Ramona. When writing the book, Cleary took inspiration from the times she composed stories for children during Saturday afternoon story hours when she worked as a librarian in Yakima. Like many of her later works, Henry Huggins is a novel about people living ordinary lives and is based on Cleary's own childhood experiences, the kids in her neighborhood growing up, as well as children she met while working as a librarian.Although her book was accepted by Morrow, the first publisher she sent it to, it had been initially rejected, and Cleary had added the characters of Beezus and Ramona while revising it.

Cleary's first book to center a story on the Quimby sisters, Beezus and Ramona, was published in 1955. A publisher asked her to write a book about a kindergarten student. Cleary resisted, because she had not attended kindergarten, but later changed her mind after the birth of her twins.

Cleary also wrote two memoirs, one about her childhood, entitled A Girl from Yamhill (1988), and one about her years in college and as an adult up to writing her first book, entitled My Own Two Feet (1995). During a 2011 interview for the Los Angeles Times, at age 95, Cleary stated, "I've had an exceptionally happy career."

As always, images and info are courtesy of Google, Goodreads, Wikipedia, and author webpages.

Are some of these your childhood favorites too? Be sure to let us know, and maybe spread the word to the children in your life as well!

Interested in trying one of Ms. Cleary's books? Check out the collection we have as ebooks and eaudiobooks on WV Reads!


Monday, March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews.

Letty Carnahan is in trouble. She's on the run from New York City; she has her four-year-old niece, Maya in tow, and her sister was found dead in the entry hall of her glamorous townhome. Letty believes she knows who did it: her sister's awful, money-grubbing ex-husband, Evan Wingfield. Letty can't forget her sister Tara's insistence: "if anything bad ever happens to me--It's Evan. Promise me you'll take Maya and run. Promise me." But run where? The only clue Tara has left behind is a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel on Florida's Gulf Coast. Certain that the police and Tara's ex are hot on her trail, Letty leaves her own life behind without a backwards glance, knowing she will somehow get justice for Tara, and sets out for her destination--The Murmuring Surf. The Surf, as regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit but quarrelsome group of retirees and snowbirds who regard this newcomer and her adorable niece with suspicion and more than a little curiosity. There's a No Vacancy sign swinging from the neon motel marquee, but the motel's longtime owner Ava DeCurtis takes Letty in, offers her a room and eventually a job, much to the disapproval of Ava's cynical son Joe, a local police detective whose every instinct tells him that Letty is a dangerous fugitive, possibly even a kidnapper and murderer. As Letty tries to settle into her new life and help heal Maya's trauma, she's preoccupied as her late sister's troubled past and connection to the motel are revealed, all while trying to deal with the attractive detective's unwelcome advances. Is Joe a would-be suitor? Or a cop determined to betray her confidence and put her behind bars?


The Druid by Steven A. McKay.

In the aftermath of a surprise attack Dun Buic lies in smoking ruins and many innocent villagers are dead. As the survivors try to make sense of the night's events the giant warrior-druid, Bellicus, is tasked with hunting down the raiders and thwarting their dark purpose. With years of training in the old ways, two war-dogs at his side, and unsurpassed skill with a longsword, Bellicus's quest will take him on a perilous journey through lands still struggling to cope with the departure of the Roman legions. Meanwhile, amongst her brutal captors the little princess Catia finds an unlikely ally, but even he may not be able to avert the terrible fate King Hengist has in store for her. This, the first volume in a stunning new series from the bestselling author of Wolf's Head, explores the rich folklore and culture of post-Roman Britain, where blood-sacrifice, superstition and warfare were as much a part of everyday life as love, laughter and song. As Saxon invaders and the new Christian religion seek to mould the country for their own ends one man will change the course of Britain's history forever. . . . . . THE DRUID.


Flying Angels by Danielle Steel.

World War II brings together six remarkable young flight nurses, who face the challenges of war and its many heartbreaks and victories as unsung heroes. Risking their lives on perilous missions, they join the elite Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron and fly into enemy territory almost daily to rescue wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Even knowing they will not achieve any rank and will receive little pay for their efforts, the "Flying Angels" will give their all in the fight for freedom.


Adult Non-Fiction

Forever Young by Hayley Mills.

The daughter of acclaimed British actor Sir John Mills was still a preteen when she began her acting career and was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Under the wing of Walt Disney himself, Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960s through her iconic roles in Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, and many more. She became one of only twelve actors in history to be bestowed with the Academy Juvenile Award, presented at the Oscars by its first recipient, Shirley Temple, and went on to win a number of awards including a Golden Globe, multiple BAFTAs, and a Disney Legacy Award. Now, in her charming and forthright memoir, she provides a unique window into when Hollywood was still 'Tinseltown' and the great Walt Disney was at his zenith, ruling over what was (at least in his own head) still a family business. This behind-the-scenes look at the drama of having a sky-rocketing career as a young teen in an esteemed acting family will offer both her childhood impressions of the wild and glamorous world she was swept into, and the wisdom and broader knowledge that time has given her. Hayley will delve intimately into her relationship with Walt Disney, as well as the emotional challenges of being bound to a wholesome, youthful public image as she grew into her later teen years, and how that impacted her and her choices--including marrying a producer over 30 years her senior when she was 20!


Robert E. Lee by Allen C. Guelzo.

Robert E. Lee is one of the most confounding figures in American history. Lee betrayed his nation in order to defend his home state and uphold the slave system he claimed to oppose. He was a traitor to the country he swore to serve as an Army officer, and yet he was admired even by his enemies for his composure and leadership. He considered slavery immoral, but benefited from inherited slaves and fought to defend the institution. And behind his genteel demeanor and perfectionism lurked the insecurities of a man haunted by the legacy of a father who stained the family name by declaring bankruptcy and who disappeared when Robert was just six years old. In Robert E. Lee, the award-winning historian Allen Guelzo has written the definitive biography of the general, following him from his refined upbringing in Virginia high society, to his long career in the U.S. Army, his agonized decision to side with Virginia when it seceded from the Union, and his leadership during the Civil War. Above all, Guelzo captures Robert E. Lee in all his complexity--his hypocrisy and courage, his outward calm and inner turmoil, his honor and his disloyalty.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Blancaflor by Nadja Spiegelman & Sergio García Sánchez.  J GN

Raised by a mean ogre of a father who eats his opponents for dinner, Blancaflor is often told not to show off her own considerable powers for fear of scaring off suitors. When a prince falls from the sky and wakes up in her lap, she is spellbound and moves heaven and earth to help the endearing, yet not so clever, young man, all while trying not to let him know.


Who is Queen Elizabeth II? by Megan Stine.  J NF

In 1936, the life of ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth of York changed forever. Although she was a member of the British Royal Family, she never expected to become queen. But when her uncle Edward gave up the throne, suddenly her father was the new king, which meant young Elizabeth was next in line! Queen Elizabeth has reigned since 1953, and while there are palaces galore, the crown jewels, and trips around the world, her life has been one of strict discipline and duty. This riveting chronicle follows the life of a woman who is a public figure and an intensely private person and explores how she has kept the monarchy together through good times and bad.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860

Friday, March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022 - Staff Reviews

By Diana Palmer
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

1.5 Stars - A cowboy tale from Palmer's long line of long, tall Texans. This time a lawyer, Nick, is matched up with Gaby, an heiress in danger from her greedy family. I suppose if you're a fan of Palmer's series, this will check all the boxes. But I quickly remembered why I am not and felt like the negatives outweighed positives here. Not even suspense or romantic, a lot of angst and drama. 

Diana Palmer's from an old school romance class. All her blurbs and book descriptions make me think YES. And I can never remember why I don't read them. Then, unfortunately, I do. Gaby's traumatic childhood shows up in the first chapter, and I admit it's harrowing. But she's also pretty snobby and a bit hard to warm up to. I just couldn't find anything relatable about her. Nick's relationship with his niece isn't exactly endearing like I think it was supposed to be. The teenager is clearly lost and he's not giving her the kind of attention she needs. Outside of that, he's a buff, tough, smart, supposedly ruthless lawyer. He's representing the dark side in this case Gaby's grandfather.

There were so many issues that became apparent quickly that I was not going to enjoy slogging through this relatively short romance. I don't mind some of the tropes at all: cowboy lawyer, virgin heroine, evil relatives. Actually, the blurb really had me thinking I would finally read another Palmer book and like it. Wrong. The heroes always turn out to be too old for the heroine, making the whole innocent twenty-something thing a little creepy. He's always protective, just not so much of her feelings. Although, she does have a lot of them. The couple tends to blow hot and cold until the great, big sex scene. And it's not like these books are erotica. That's basically it. As for the plot, it was really hard to believe Gaby was falling for her grandfather's attorney who is much older and sort of weighed down more than she is. But hey, it's romance fiction, so maybe I'm just too picky. I'd say if you love Diana Palmer's formulatic writing style, the way some do Danielle Steel or Robyn Carr then go for it, nothing to lose here.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022 - Staff Picks

Another month is winding down, readers! We're looking to share a new type of post today featuring children's fiction stories. 

National Library Week is approaching! Celebrate it by visiting your local library and meeting fun unusual library patrons. To start the celebration off, read about Bears, Dragons, Circus’, and even Monsters in the libraries. They are great stories for expanding the imagination and love of reading for those in pre-kindergarten to second grade levels. 

In The New LiBEARian, Ms. Merryweather is late to storytime. That never happens. So, Dee and her friends follow clues to find her and during the hunt they find out there is a new LiBEARian working there. Little do they know that he came from somewhere special and does not even work there.

Did we learn our lesson about allowing unusual library patrons to the library? Well…maybe not quite. If Bears can be in a library I guess that means dragons can too…right? In DO NOT BRING YOUR DRAGON TO THE LIRBARY, a friend and his dragon try to enter the library and learn that while there are many things that are going on, it is not quite safe to bring a dragon in. For one they are big, are sometimes rude, and have a little problem with flames. But don’t worry; the librarian comes up with a solution that is perfect for all. 

If bears and dragons are not allowed, surely a one girl circus is. Magnolia saw a sign that said “You Can Do Anything At The Library!” It got her thinking that she could have her very own quiet circus in the library. What can go wrong with cannons, pies, and hula hoops? Check out what happens by checking out the book If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, DON’T!

Sometimes there are people who don’t like libraries. But have you ever heard of a monster not liking a library, especially one who thinks the library is a restaurant? Theodore and Oskar came to the library for one thing and one thing only, to read in quiet. But something just does not seem right as they snuggle down on their bean bag chairs. In The NOT So Quiet Library, they learn just what is making the noise and have to use the knowledge they have gained from reading books to stop it.

What are some of your favorite library tales? Are any perfect for little readers?


Please note this post was originally shared in OVParent Magazine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

March 23, 2022 - A Book & A Recipe

Welcome back to our aspiring chefs and curious readers! We're excited to share our March 2022 recipe with you. We're featuring a dessert from Isis Crawford's long running series in this month's Dinner & A Book idea. It's from A Catered St Patrick's Day.

Sarah Saulson's Grasshopper Squares

1/2 cups butter (2)
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
16 oz of Hershey chocolate syrup
2 cups confectioner sugar
4 tbsp creme de mint or 1 tsp of peppermint extract
Green food coloring
Butter (At least 6 tablespoons)
1 cup chocolate chips

Ready? Let's start!


Cream 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar together. 

Add 4 eggs, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 cup flour, and 16 ounces of Hershey's chocolate syrup in order given. 

Spread in buttered container 13 by 9 inch pan.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 F.

Cool completely.


Cream 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups confectioner sugar.

Add 4 tbsp of creme de mint or 1 tsp of peppermint extract.

Add green food coloring.

Spread on top of brownies.

Chill or freeze until cold.

Top with 6 tablespoons of butter melted with 1 cup of chocolate chips and spread on top.

Cut into small squares and serve.

This one's a favorite with the kids! Maybe for a delightfully green St. Patrick's Day weekend project.

As always, images and info courtesy of WV Reads, Google, Goodreads, and author webpages.

Be sure to let us know if you tried out this recipe! We'd love to hear how it turned out, or if you're close by... try a sample.

Intrigued by the book? Check it out on our ebook site WV Reads!


Monday, March 21, 2022

March 21, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

The Hope Chest by Carolyn Brown.

"An inheritance has reunited three estranged cousins. Their grandmother Lucy left Nessa, Flynn, and April her home nestled in the woods near Blossom, Texas, as well as a hope chest to be unlocked after they complete a special task. Together, they must hand-stitch a cherished quilt Lucy left unfinished. It meant everything to her. And now, to three people struggling with their own patchwork pasts . . . To Nessa, the house has always been an escape from her strict parents--a home away from home. Flynn has followed a profligate path into adulthood, never guessing it would lead him here. And the town of Blossom only stirs up a lifetime of disappointments for April. Lost and with nowhere to go, her last chance is helping fulfill Nanny Lucy's final wish. Thread by healing thread, Nessa, Flynn, and April bond over the quilt and all it represents. As they discover the family they've been looking for in one another, they share more than memories. They share the hope of new beginnings."-- Provided by publisher.


Her New Story by Laura Bradford.

Tess Baker thought she had the perfect everything--until her best friend, and (now ex) husband, betrayed her, leaving her with nothing, except her career as an investigative reporter. In her work for a leading magazine, Tess can lose herself in whatever story she's chasing. So she's devastated when her next assignment is far from the exciting location or action-packed quest she anticipated. Thanks to a recent misstep, Tess is handed a bus ticket to Pennsylvania--to Amish country. The story? Write about living in the past in a modern-day world. Determined to prove herself by coming up with something juicier than a run-of-the-mill human-interest piece, Tess makes her way through this strange place, digging for dirt ... Yet no matter where she turns, scandal eludes her. Instead, Tess encounters kindness and grace, even striking up unexpected friendships with women who bear a wisdom and capacity for forgiveness she can't imagine. It's only when she meets eighty-something Miss Lottie, beloved by the community even after decades away, that Tess realizes she may have hit upon the story she was looking for. But can she betray the people who have opened their arms--and their hearts--for the sake of a scoop?


Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult.

Diana O'Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She's an associate specialist at Sotheby's now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She's not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos--days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time. But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It's all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes. Almost immediately, Diana's dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they'd booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father's suspicion of outsiders. In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself--and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.


Adult Non-Fiction

Ultimate Guide: Plumbing by Merle Henkenius.

Learn how to make both minor and major DIY repairs and improvements that will save you money! No need to hire a plumber, especially in emergencies when you need an immediate fix. This best-selling guide on plumbing will teach you everything you need to know, from understanding how plumbing systems work and fixing a leaky faucet to making renovations, soldering copper, installing fixtures, and so much more. Featuring detailed how-to diagrams, code-compliant techniques, tips on how to spot and improve outdated or dangerous materials in your home plumbing system, and so much more, this newly updated edition features new code-compliant techniques for 2021, plus a new section on air gap fittings.


The Great Reset by Glenn Beck & Justin Haskins.

An international conspiracy between powerful bankers, business leaders, and government officials; closed-door meetings in the Swiss Alps; and calls for a radical transformation of every society on earth--the Great Reset sounds like it is one henchman-with-an-eyepatch away from being the plot for the next James Bond movie. But the Great Reset is not a work of fiction. It is a highly influential movement among the world's elite to "reset" the global economy using banks, government programs, and environmental, social, and governance metrics. If they are successful and the Great Reset is finalized, it would put substantially more economic and social power in the hands of large corporations, international institutions, banks, and government officials, including Joe Biden, the United Nations, and many of the members of the World Economic Forum. In The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism, Glenn Beck uses his trademark blend of humor, storytelling, and detailed analysis to reveal for the first time the unbelievable truth about the Great Reset, tying together nearly two decades of groundbreaking research about authoritarian movements and their efforts to fundamentally transform the United States.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling.  J

Twelve-year-old Jolene spends every day she can at the library watching her favorite livestream: The Desert Aviator, where twelve-year-old "Addie Earhart" shares her adventures flying an ultralight plane over the desert. While watching this daring girl fly through the sky, Jolene can dream of what it would be like to fly with her, far away from her own troubled home life where her mother struggles with a narcotic addiction. And Addie, who is grieving the loss of her father, finds solace in her online conversations with Jolene, her biggest--and only--fan. Then, one day, it all goes wrong: Addie's engine abruptly stops, and Jolene watches in helpless horror as the ultralight plummets to the ground and the video goes dark. Jolene knows that Addie won't survive long in the extreme summer desert heat. With no one to turn to for help and armed with only a hand-drawn map and a stolen cell phone, it's up to Jolene to find a way to save the Desert Aviator.


Katt Loves Dogg by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein.  J

During a family reunion at the Eastern Wilderness Reserve, adventurers and expert trackers Molly the katt and Oscar the dogg must outsmart the rule-makers when two of their cousins run away together.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860

Saturday, March 19, 2022

March 19, 2022 - Staff Reviews

When Stars Collide
By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars - Oddly enough, this rom com suffers from a lack of sparkle. Phillips had all the ingredients of an excellent story but they just don't mesh that well. Olivia and Thad are made out to be so different but actually they had very similar personalities. Not all in good ways, yet they did seem good for each other and had sparks. There's some suspense mixed in with the romance and humor here, but I think even some devoted fans may be disappointed.

Phillips is actually more of a vet of the romantic comedy genre than a lot of the authors today, many of whom switched from romantic suspense, erotica, or new adult to the more fan friendly rom-com genre. So, it pains me to give her a slightly negative reason when she does know her stuff. The original Chicago Stars stories just had more pizzaz than this. Olivia is a blurb-proclaimed diva but she's just a little too prickly and cold. Of course, eventually, Thad melts that shell and we get her sweet side. We also can certainly understand her holding herself and other to high standards. Oddly, Thad was almost the same. 

The push-pull aspect felt thinly disgusted as Thad wasn't exactly a 'rough' football player with redneck roots or anything. These two on paper seem like a good match from the jump. Why they were so antagonistic to each other never really made sense. This book is almost certainly too long though at almost 400 pages. Bits of dialouge felt like copy/paste jobs. Yes, we get some intrigue and suspense mixed in, but there's just too much detail at times. It bogged down any fast-pace tension it built. And the part of the story where Thad is accused of sleeping with Alyssa felt so off. Phillips used to have a racier side to her couples but that seems to be mostly absent here. Thad and Olivia aren't quite setting the sheets on fire or the pages for the majority of the stories. There's more bickering, or bantering, depending on how you look at it. Huge Stars series fans with probably find this worth the read, devouring the latest story. But anyone not yet into Phillips' work should star with earlier Stars novels before deciding whether or not she's a keeper.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

March 16, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

Welcome back, resume warriors! We've got fresh ideas to share for March 2022.

Resume Tip #17 - Adding a Volunteer Section

A volunteer work or community outreach section is an excellent way for a young person or new worker to beef up their one-pager. And sometimes for a more experienced hiree, it can set you apart from other candidates. This portion of your resume can really give your prospective an employer an idea of you as a person and what you're like outside of work.

What sort of volunteer experience is worth noting? You'd be surprised! Did you participate in events with your church? Maybe you coached a peewee sport team or helped the local theater put on a play. Did you serve food or assist patrons at a soup kitchen? Or perhaps you helped shelve materials and clean at the library one summer.

Some may say that a volunteer history section is a bad idea because it implies you might be willing to work for less or for free. That's not true! It can really illustrate your levels of dedication and caring.

The best way to format your volunteer history is the same way we would for work experience or job positions in general. Include the name of the facility or the organization. Your responsibilities, activities, and duties. Location may or may not be relevant depending on the amount of space left on the one page. Try not to go over one page, that's another tip. Did you assist a higher up? Did you organize supplies? Maybe you coordinated or events?

Now, keep in mind, a volunteering section is definitely not a requirement. If your experience with certain groups is more than 5-10 years in the past, it's probably not worth including. It's also okay if you don't have any volunteer work to include. Plenty of people are busy enough with their time taken up by family and friends as well. But it's nice to fill space or gaps and to give potential employers a look at your interests. 

Until next month, job seekers! Remember to ask your local library for help with your job search or resume updates. They can be an excellent resource!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

March 15, 2022 - Staff Reviews

Crocodile on the Sandbank
By Elizabeth Peters
Release Date: Unknown in 1975
Ebook Available from WV Reads

3 Stars - This light mystery series starts off swiftly with heroine Amelia Peabody venturing to Egypt after inheriting her father's estate. She had already inherited his adventurous and curious nature. I'd recommend this mostly to cozy fans looking for something a little different, more treasure hunt than murder mystery. Worth noting, while published first in 1975, it's historical fiction so it really doesn't seemed to have aged.

The setting is in fact the late Victorian era and has likely prevented this series from aging like the Egyptian treasures and culture it features. This book may suffer from being something of a crossover of too many genres. But it's also a positive aspect. There's touches of historical fiction, regency romance, cozy mystery, and even archeological adventures. Likewise, Amelia has many facets to her personality. She's almost too quirky. At times, she is caring, inquisitive, and simply a little obsessive compulsive. But honestly, other times her fiercely independent nature comes off cold and confrontational. And her inner thoughts can be kind of snobby, despite her lack of conceit. 

I do believe from the few times I have dabbled in different parts of this series (attempting to really immerse myself which I admit I still have not done) that Amelia's character softens as she later acquires a husband and a son. But in this first entry, she can come off a bit harsh and sometimes unrelatable to a modern young woman. However, Peters writes her skillfully and manages to really bring her prospective in full light, which I imagine a part of her tried and true appeal through decades. Although, her writing style is not for the everyday reader, in my opinion. She has a tendency to hop around and the plot takes quite a while to actually take shape. The first quarter or so of the book feels quite meandering, and it's not easy reading with the level of detail and antique dialouge. While I enjoyed my time reading this one, it still did not leave me with a great desire to binge read the series or even hurriedly pick up the next book. It's a series certainly worth a try for anyone it appeals to but despite its short length, it's a weighty read. 



Monday, March 14, 2022

March 14, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Tom Clancy: Chain of Command by Marc Cameron.

A shadowy billionaire has used his fortune to further his corrupt ambitions, and now he is ready to implement his most ambitious plan yet. There's only one force standing in his way: President Jack Ryan. How do you compel a man like Ryan to bend? The billionaire zeros in on his one Achilles heel: Jack Ryan's family. He has assembled an international team of ruthless mercenaries for one mission: kidnap the First Lady.


Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens.

"Lifestyle reporter Laura's business trip to the Channel Islands isn't off to a great start. After an embarrassing encounter with the most attractive man she's ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel and realizes she's grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation is its irresistible contents, each of which intrigues her more and more. The owner of this suitcase is clearly Laura's dream man. Now, all she has to do is find him. But what are the odds that she'd find The One on the same island where her parents first met and fell in love, especially as she sets out to write an article about their romance? Commissioning surly cab driver Ted to ferry her around seems like her best bet in both tracking down the mystery suitcase owner and retracing her parents' footsteps. But as Laura's mystery man proves difficult to find - and as she uncovers family secrets - she may have to reimagine the life, and love, she always thought she wanted."-- Provided by publisher.


The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain.

When Kayla Carter's husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. When she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It's clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area... and a connection to Kayla herself. Kayla's elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it's clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key?


Adult Non-Fiction

The Birth Certificate by Susan J. Pearson.

For many Americans, the birth certificate is a mundane piece of paper, unearthed from deep storage when applying for a driver's license, verifying information for new employers, or claiming state and federal benefits. Yet as Donald Trump and his fellow "birthers" reminded us when they claimed that Barack Obama wasn't an American citizen, it plays a central role in determining identity and citizenship. In The Birth Certificate: An American History, award-winning historian Susan J. Pearson traces the document's two-hundred-year history to explain when, how, and why birth certificates came to matter so much in the United States.


Windows 11 for Dummies by Andy Rathbone.

Windows 11 promises to be the fastest, most secure, and most flexible version of the Microsoft operating system yet. With a promise like that, of course you want to start using it, as quickly as possible! Windows 11 For Dummies gives you that speed, security, and flexibility by getting you up to date with the latest in Windows. Windows expert and bestselling author Andy Rathbone gives you a helping hand by showing you how to get around the newly updated Windows 11 interface, how to use the new Windows tools like Teams and widgets, and how to use Android apps. Your tour of Windows 11 starts with the Start menu and ends with how to troubleshoot when things go wrong. In between you find out how to find files on your hard drive, connect with friends and colleagues on Microsoft Teams, transfer photos from your phone to your hard drive, or switch between your desktop and laptop.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood.  YA

Andromeda is a debtera--an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn't thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope of steady work is to find a Patron--a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, she takes the job without question. Never mind that he's rude and demanding and eccentric, that the contract comes with a number of outlandish rules... and that almost a dozen debtera had quit before her. If Andromeda wants to earn a living, she has no choice. But she quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, the reason every debtera before her quit. But leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn't an option because--heaven help her--she's fallen for him.


Billie Eilish by Adrian Besley.  YA NF

With number one albums in multiple countries and five Grammys under her belt, Billie Eilish has become a pop sensation. Billie was a promising young dancer until musical success came literally overnight in 2015. A song she uploaded to SoundCloud received a thousand plays in twenty-four hours. The thirteen-year-old's voice intoxicated listeners and the track went viral. Billie and her brother, Finneas, produced a series of eclectic but equally bewitching tracks, which drew fans from around the world. Follow her journey from singing in her bedroom to performing at huge arenas, and find out what makes Billie Eilish the most extraordinary teenage star in the world.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860

Thursday, March 10, 2022

March 10, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Heathens
By Ace Atkins
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - Quinn Colson's back but this time quite a bit has changed in the sheriff's life. Things are a bit more laidback and the series returns to more of its mystery roots. He's on the trail of a couple wayward teenagers accused of murder, and in the meantime he might uncover more than he bargained for in his own county.

Ace Atkins seemed like he was tying up all the lose ends with the last Colson novel but then he hit us with a cliffhanger ending. I assume this is where a few fans decide to tap out on the now long-running series. But Quinn's back to living his life with Maggie, Brandon, the new baby, and happily back as  sheriff. His first case back sort of puts him at odds with Lilly, less so through the first half than you would think. It was kind of a nice change of pace though. The newest dumb criminals are surprisingly sympathetic  while being pathetic all the same. 

There's a lot of Bonnie and Clyde references here to TJ and her boyfriend but they seemed a bit far fetched. Lilly's never been impartial which is a bad quality in law enforcement but it's particularly glaring here with TJ. Atkins has a weird way with his characters where he certainly can be insulting to them, even use some pretty bad stereotypes. But he does it across the board so I guess it's all fair. I wish we'd gotten a better new big bad villian though. We've already been through Stagg, Varterman, and Miss Fanny's antics before. He made it pretty difficult to change that up and be original. Also, his writing style is great with an almost lyrical and usually humorous quality. But this time, it seemed a bit too wordy. That could have been me or it could have been the book. We did get a few side characters moving on with their lives this time so it was cool to have different points of view for a change. And I think it actually let a little more of the spotlight show on Quinn, which was great. So some things are new and some are the same, but it's always a fun ride in this series.


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

March 9, 2022 - Book Club Preview

Thanks for stopping in to check out our March 2022 BCPL Book Club pick! 

This month we're reading and discussing Sisters Frist: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush.

The meeting will be held on Thursday March 31, 2022 at 5 pm virtually and in person as space and safety issues allow.

About the book -
Funny and poignant personal stories and reflections from former first daughters. Born into a political dynasty, Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in the public eye. As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father's side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years being trailed by the Secret Service and chased by the paparazzi, with every teenage mistake making national headlines. 

But the tabloids didn't tell the whole story of these two young women forging their own identities under extraordinary circumstances. In this book they take readers on a revealing, thoughtful, and deeply personal tour behind the scenes of their lives, with never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that fulfills them. 

About the authors -

Jenna Bush Hager is a co-host on NBC’s TODAY Show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, written after she served as an intern with UNICEF in Latin America. She also co-authored the children’s books Our Great Big Backyard and Read All About It! with her mother. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New York.

Barbara Pierce Bush (born November 25, 1981) is an American activist. She co-founded and is the chair of the board of the nonprofit organization Global Health Corps. Global Health Corps provides opportunities for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on the front lines of the fight for global health equity. Unlike most of her relatives (but like her twin sister Jenna), Bush is not a member of the Republican Party. In 2010, Bush and her sister told People that they preferred not to identify with any political party, stating, "We're both very independent thinkers.  On October 7, 2018, she married screenwriter Craig Coyne.

Did you read Sisters First and enjoy it? Please let us know in the comments, on our social media pages, or in person! Also, please call the library if you are interested in joining the book club.

Interested in checking out this title? Check out the copy of our ebook on WV Reads!

All images and info are courtesy of Google, Goodreads, Wikipedia, and author webpages.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

March 8, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Soulmate Equation
By Christina Lauren
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads

3 Stars - A slightly original romantic comedy featuring the insanity of dating apps and sites. I'm getting tired of all the novel attempts to put a clever twist on cyber dating and create virtual meet cutes. Anyone else? Jess was an adorable mess, and she and Juno made for a cute mom-daughter team. River was a bit of a tough sell at first but he turned out to be the better half of this quirky couple.

For a few weeks, I devoured this writing duo's books. Now that they've jumped on the comedy circut, I've lost a little interest. The earlier novels from these ladies in my opinion were more entertaining. Jess was odd and a bit tempermental, but she was certainly relatable on some levels. At times though, she was cringey. Her sense of humor was strange and she was not pleased when other women didn't pick up on it. River really had to be the savior of this couple and the book itself. And he almost does it. He's smart, cool, and surprisingly patient.

I did a lot speed reading here as the book is an over 300 page rom-com. Yet, I had a hard time understanding why Jess and Fizzy were friends or why she was so broke. Also, I get we're living in the age of of Tinder hook ups and online dating because the majority of conversations happening do not involve actually hearing someone's voice anymore. But it's so unromantic. I find it startling that somehow the latest regency romances manage to feel sexier than the modern ones. I'm not saying a romance has to be burn your hands steam level to be interesting but chemistry certainly helps. For two supposed science nerds, they sure did have to go looking for the spark. Basically, I think the Lauren team is capable of more than a bunch of genetic science mumbo jumbo and a weird enemies-to-lovers tag. There's a decent story buried under all that filler but apparently that enemies to lover angle is all some readers need to be happy. So it's worth a try, especially if you find the concept of being genetically attracted to someone else intriguing. 


Monday, March 7, 2022

March 7, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman.

When Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist whose job is all sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is replaced by a virtual meteorologist that will never age, gain weight or renegotiate its contract, the only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is the very place Sonny's been avoiding since the day she left for college -- her northern Michigan hometown.


A Man of Honor by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Opening five years before the start of A Woman of Substance, A Man of Honor begins with 13-year-old Blackie O'Neill facing an uncertain future in rural County Kerry. Orphaned and alone, he has just buried his sister, Bronagh, and must leave his home to set sail for England, in search of a better life with his mother's brother in Leeds. There, he learns his trade as a navvy, amid the grand buildings and engineering triumphs of one of England's most prosperous cities, and starts to dream of greater things... And then, high on the Yorkshire moors, in the mists of a winter morning he meets a kitchen maid called Emma Harte.


Criminal Mischief by Stuart Woods.

After a dangerous adventure has him traveling up and down the coast, Stone Barrington is looking forward to some down time at his Manhattan abode. But when an acquaintance alerts him to a hinky plot being hatched across the city, he finds himself eager to pursue justice. After the mastermind behind it all proves more evasive than anyone was expecting, Stone sets out on an international chase to places he's never gone before. With the help of old friends--and alluring new ones--Stone is determined to see the pursuit through to the end, even if it means going up against a foe more unpredictable than he has ever faced...


Adult Non-Fiction

Eclectic Rhythms by Geoffrey K. Fleming.

This biographical dictionary on Huntington artists began simply enough, with a fairly basic question: how many artists have worked in Huntington since it was founded? This question, and the subsequent research upon it, led to the creation of this publication, which documents approximately 600 artists of every kind who have lived and worked in Huntington since 1871.


The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made this book a classic.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka.  J

Set between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the story follows everyone's favorite pair of smugglers as they fly the Millennium Falcon on a top-secret mission for the Rebellion. Hidden in the story are also hints and clues about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-read for fans old and new!


Himawari House by Harmony Becker.  YA GN

"When Nao returns to Tokyo to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, she books a yearlong stay at the Himawari sharehouse. There she meets Hyejung and Tina, two other girls who came to Japan to freely forge their own paths. The trio live together, share meals, and even attend the same Japanese-language school, which results in them becoming fast friends. But will they be able to hold one another up as life tests them with new loves, old heart breaks, and the everyday challenges of being fish out of water?"-- Provided by publisher.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860